Wayne Hemingway: Morecambe in the 50's and a look ahead to Vintage by the Sea

Nan and Wayne with mohican Morecambe pier

Nan and Wayne with mohican Morecambe pier - Credit: Wayne Hemingway

Wayne Hemingway talks to his mum about Morecambe in the 50s and previews his Vintage by the Sea event

I have been talking to my mum, Maureen, about her memories and experience of music and dancing in Morecambe. This is what she said: ‘Brubeck’s Coffee Bar, just down the street from the Winter Gardens, was the place to be and be seen in the 50s. Many parties were held there after the shows in the town.

‘Brubeck’s invited the stars of the time, a very young and spotty Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and an equally young and spotty Lonnie Donegan. And then there was Alma Cogan, Tommy Steele, The Shadows, Screaming Lord Sutch and The (very young) Rolling Stones and many, many more.

‘The shows held every week at the Winter Gardens were top class shows and it was one of the most prestigious theatres in England outside London for the cool stars of the day to perform in. The annual Morecambe Music Festival was also held at the Winter Gardens and brought in many brass bands, pianists, soloists and choirs from all over the UK as well as local talent. I remember Wayne in it with Madame Patty’s troupe in the mid-60s singing ‘If I was a rich man’.

‘The Floral Hall (where Joe Loss, Dickie Valentine, Lita Rosa, Alma Cogan, Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Lane all played) was the place to dance together with the Central Pier where bands like Chris Barber’s Jazz Band with Monty Sunshine often played. At the Floral Hall you could go in the week and dance to records and no alcohol was served, only pop and crisps!

‘My mum, Ida Hemingway, would spend part of every fine day on West End Pier and had a walk on part with her dogs in a shopping trolley in the film The Entertainer, made at the Alhambra with Lawrence Olivier.

‘If you wanted to meet a member of the opposite sex you would parade up and down the prom every Sunday and end up at Brucciani’s.’

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I personally have memories of appearing in The King and I and singing The Music Man’s ‘76 Trombones led the big parade’ at the Winter Gardens and finishing runner up at Harry Graham’s Bandstand singing ‘Congratulations and Celebrations’.

In the post-Brubeck’s era, Morecambe continued to host some of best music of a generation from the Soul Nights on Central Pier to Womad and today the North Lancs Soul Festival and the punk focused Nice n Sleazy .

The British seaside has a history of hosting decade defining youth culture and music movements. Margate and Brighton still dine off their mod and rocket heritage and the soul, disco and funk scene that revolved around Blackpool’s Mecca ballroom is still celebrated.

A vintage classic


Vintage by the Sea will feature a cornucopia of cool music events, here’s a taster of some of the great music content.


Soul Casino, The Winter Gardens, Sunday 7th September, 5.30pm-1am

The Soul Casino will create the sounds and style of the classic 70s soul club and 80s disco scenes, deep funk to northern, rare groove to classic soul, disco, authentic R&B mod sounds and early house.


The Warehouse, The Winter Gardens, Saturday 6th September, 9pm-2am

Bringing the north’s distinctive dance culture and DJ history to the fore at a one off party. Hacienda legends Mike Pickering and Dave Haslam evoke memories of Acid House era Manchester and Jack Hemingway plays a selection of pre-rave Boogie and House jams.



Let It Rock, The Platform, Sunday 7th September, 7.30pm-1am

Shimmy and shuffle in your blue suede shoes as rockin’ bands The Crown Top Kings, The Hayriders, and The Rhythm Kings bring the best of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll to the Platform.


The Torch Club, The Midland Hotel, Saturday 6th September, 7pm-12am

Tickets: £65 from The Midland Hotel: 08456 015478

An unforgettable night of 1930s and 40s glamour at the Midland Hotel. Hosted by Viv The Spiv, this cheeky chappie is without a doubt the most popular character on the UK’s 30s and 40s scene.

On arrival you will receive complimentary champagne and strawberries as you take your seat for a glamorous dinner.

Mr Melody Man will be on hand to help you brush up on your steps and there will be performances by The Savoy Dance Orchestra, one of the most popular 30s and 40s Swing and Dance Bands in Europe.


Vintage Tea by The Sea - Champagne Afternoon Tea, The Midland Hotel, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September, 12.30pm-2pm and 3pm-4.30pm

Tickets: £23.50 from the Midland Hotel: 08456 015478



Charity Shop DJ - The Midland Hotel’s Rotunda Bar (outside), Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September, noon-6pm

Charity Shop DJ has travelled the world collecting records and he is delighted to be in Morecambe for you to flick through the collection, pick out a single and boogie.